Before you begin to review the below resources we first encourage you to pray for ears to hear, minds to comprehend and hearts to respond to what you will read and hear. Secondly, we invite you to review these 10 Biblical Applications on Race & Racism from the Bible. We must let God speak first through the Holy Spirit application of His Word to the issue of race. We invite you to look up these verses. Mediate on them. Allow them to shape them. Some wonder "why should the church talk about race for it only divides? The answer is the Bible talks a lot about race and ethnicities. In fact, you cannot spell grace without spelling race. God's grace creates a new race, called the Church, to bring peace to all races/ethnicities (Eph. 2:14-16).
Thirdly, let's humbly acknowledge that racial inequality and disunity that has happened and still is happening in our great country is a God-sized problem. It is one that only the church, through the power of Jesus’ good news & the Holy Spirit, can heal. It requires a quality of love that Jesus, our Savior & King, can only provide. He is our hope and message since the message of Christianity is reconciliation, both vertically and horizontally (2 Cor. 5:20, Eph. 2).The Church is the hope of the world and people need a unified voice coming from the Church that Jesus loves and leads. This voice, His voice, will be a catalyst of hope, healing and reconciliation for the culture in which God has placed us to live and work. It is exciting that we can participate with Jesus on this. It truly is. This is the voice that FBC Brewster wants and will amplify by His grace and power of His Gospel.
To be clear racism is a sin and all ethnicities can demonstrate racism, oppression and discrimination because the root of it all is sin. Any solution, theory or worldview that does not see the root problem as sin will not experience the racial unity that God so desires in people, in His church and in communities that He loves. Not only is racism a sin but racism destroys unity and the oneness Jesus prays for in John 17. Racism distorts the image of God within all of us. Therefore, all ethnicities have a mutual responsibility to work towards healthy interracial communication with each other. We must first listen to understand, not listen to be understood. If Christians fail to listen to people who don't experience the world the way we do, we will never bear their burdens (Gal. 6:2).
Fourth, join us in God's reconciliation journey and be part of the solution. There is much work to do. A powerful next step is to educate yourself and listen to voices outside of your experiences. We have put together resources so you can be equipped to embrace your identity as an ambassador of reconciliation. (Note: some of the resources are focused more towards Christians who are white. Please do not take this to mean that racism only applies to White people or that we are attacking the White race. Heaven's no! As Christians, our identity is in Christ and must be elevated above our ethnic identity. This does not mean we dismiss or ignore our ethnicity but it does mean that our previous ethnic identity is no longer one's point of reference. One's identity in Christ is our starting place, our foundation, for everything else. Praise God that there is beauty to be celebrated and honored in all ethnicities. Therefore, when you self-examine yourself or your ethnic identity this does not and should not be taken as devaluing or shaming one's race. No one should feel guilty for how God made them. The Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 11:28 & 2 Cor. 13:5 encourages Christians to examine ourselves individually and collectively. This is the intent of these resources (pick the ones that interests you) to lift up the name of Jesus and His good news message which is the only sufficient solution/remedy to racial unity.
Race and Reconciliation by Tony Evans (Ephesians 2:11-21)
The Family Table by Albert Tate (Revelation 7:9-17 & Matthew 22:34-40)
(sermon begins at 12:27 in the video)
What does Systemic Bias and Racism look like today? by George Yancey
Powerful Conversation between Albert Tate and Nicole Martin on Church Pulse Weekly. Albert Tate is a pastor of a multiethnic church outside of L.A. Nicole is a professor at Gordon-Conwell in Boston. She is is also the director of Healing and Trauma with the American Bible Society.
For further study on racial unity and biblical diversity from the association we are affiliated with, Converge Worldwide, click below
Finally, when it comes conversations around race it is so easy to get offended or be misunderstood by the words we use. This is why a Christian ministry called Be the Bridge has tried to help all ethnicities better understand one another. Below are a few resources to help Christians in their journey to be a racial bridge builder. This is where you can be a part of the solution! Bridge builder begins and continues with listening and learning. Now a few of the below links specifically address White Christians with terms that our black brother and sisters use like whiteness, white privilege, white supremacy, and white fragility. It is likely these words might offend you but remember the level of "offendability" often reveals the level of our emotional maturity. We must listen to why our brothers and sisters in the Lord use these terms and why. To be clear, after listening one can pushback on these words but hopefully these emotionally charged words will not become conversation stoppers. After all, communication is a two-way street. Thanks to Be the Bridge for creating these resources for the Church to help us better understand one another and further the conversation even when it gets uncomfortable.(Note: FBC is posting these links below to help you gain awareness and equip you to be a informed bridge-builder. It is not an endorsement of every sentence, link or article that is contained in these resources.)
When Blackness and Christian Collide (Video by The Gospel Coalition)
Those interested in learning more about being a racial bridge builder check out the book, Be the Bridge by LaTasha Morrison. Btw, this book won Book of the Year by Christianity Today Magazine in 2020 for Christian Living/Discipleship. It also recently won the 2021 Evangelical Christians Publisher Association (ECPA) Book of the Year for Faith & Culture.
Last Word: We will exalt Jesus above all. His good news message is our north star. We are thankful that His good news not only saves completely but also leads us to seek His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. There is a lot of work to do so let's get to work knowing who we are in Christ will drive what we do. Not to us, Lord, but to Your Name be all the glory, praise and honor. Amen!